Christmas & New Year Holidays — When Kolkata Immerses Itself into Festivities

Kolkata is probably the most cosmopolitan, liberal, and fun-loving city in India. This is particularly felt by anyone who came to Kolkata for the first time.

It’s no wonder that the city is fondly called the ‘City of Joy.’

An important facet of Kolkata is that the citizens celebrate every religious festival; in fact, religious festivals in Kolkata are celebrated as social festivals by almost everyone.

As Durga Puja is a festival where everybody participates irrespective of caste, religion, or creed — whether anyone is rich or poor, Christmas is equally celebrated in Kolkata by all and sundry.

Sandip Roy and his family go to St. Paul’s Cathedral for the Midnight Mass every year along with his childhood friend Jerry Lawrence and his family without bothering about the difference in religion.

Mrs. Rina Chatterjee still enjoys an evening at Bow Barracks even if she is in her sixties.

The year-end holidays starting with Christmas comes to Kolkata with an opportunity to indulge in festivities, enjoy some delicious food, and go out in the pleasant sun, picnicking and travelling.

All these are supported by the mild winter in Kolkata.

Pleasant Winter in Kolkata

The advantage of Kolkata is that the winter does not bring with it much biting cold as in some North Indian cities.

It is very pleasant to bask in the warm sun on a winter afternoon in Kolkata.

The sky is clear, and the gardens are full of colourful winter flowers.

Walking past them, and sitting beside them in your residential community garden is a pleasure indeed.

Agri Horticultural Society at Alipore organizes its annual flower show and it stirs up tremendous public interest.

A New Year is Upon Us

After a long hiatus, it is expected that Kolkata will celebrate this winter season with gusto. A New Year is upon us and the recent bitter memories are all gone.

Life has come back full circle.

Kolkata residents are back to their fun-loving selves.

There will be decorative lights and crowded restaurants.

Well-dressed children with their parents at Eco Park, Nicco Park, Alipore Zoo Garden, and every public park and entertainment centres.

The festooned lights of Park Street are of course famous—a century-old tradition, and hundreds of thousands throng the road just to look at them. The various monuments in and around the maidan are also lit up, and a late-night drive along the wide avenues there can be a near-magical experience.

Christmas and New Year Celebrations

Christmas and New Year celebrations go hand in hand in Kolkata.

It starts with the Midnight Mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral which is attended by enthusiastic people of all religions.

It is not unusual to catch up with wisps of Christmas carols being played out these days. The classic ‘Silent nights, holy nights’ announces the advent of Christmas.

Park Street is the place where Kolkata celebrates Christmas and New Year, it being the anglicized part of the city.

Themed decorations take to the streets, while LED ornamental lights sparkle after sundown. The street chimes in harmonious carols, while a beautiful scene of the Lord Jesus being born in a manger waits at the end of Allen Park.

The street is thick with people of all faith, and the atmosphere is electric.

For some, of course, Christmas is not the same without the cakes from Flury’s, the iconic restaurant on Park Street. Their signature fruit, plum, and Dundee cakes, as well as yule logs, are some of the bestsellers.

And Bow Barracks — the official homes of the Anglo-Indian population in Kolkata — will come alive again and let every one soak in fun and nostalgia.

A Season for Outdoors

The year-end holiday is particularly enjoyable for children as schools are closed, and the pressure is impending examinations are somewhat less.

This is time for outdoor days out.

Thankfully, Kolkata is dotted with infotainment and entertainment centres in and around the city. You can have a great time at Alipore Zoo Garden, MP Birla Planetarium, or Indian Museum. There are quite a few options nowadays.

You can spend some time at Millennium Park and enjoy the views of the Ganges, or take to a river cruise for an amazing experience over the Ganges. You will love delicious cuisine, a relaxed stay, the river breeze, and lazy-flowing time while on the cruise.

These days, children’s favourite go-to place is Eco Park, apart from Nicco Park, and Science City. The wide expanse of Eco Park with models of world-famous icons serves as a must-visit educational destination too.

Winter-Specific Culinary Experiences

Winter is the time for gastronomic delights in Kolkata. This is the season of indulging in rich food and the choicest aged wine.

Restaurants at Park Street are full every evening during these days. You are unlikely to have any indigestion issues even if you err on the side of indiscretion.

However, this is the time when traditional date palm jaggery is made in the villages of Bengal and various kinds of pithe and moa are made with it. Only during this time, you can enjoy succulent patisapta or puli pithe, or the ubiquitous Joynagarer Moa.

A Season for Travel

A weeklong recess offers a wonderful opportunity to go for a short trip.

There are a plethora of destinations in and around Kolkata where you can unwind for a couple of days and enjoy the beauty of rural Bengal.

These days, taking a cruise on launch is quite popular. There is a possibility of taking a glimpse of the Tiger too.

Short trips to the traditional favourites like Digha and Mandarmani are always inviting. There is also a craze for going to Darjeeling, enjoying cold weather, and enjoying possible snowfall (happened last year-end).

Get-Togethers and Parties bring the Season Alive

If you are not inclined to make a move toward the hills or the seas during this time, you can have a lot of fun at the various events in Kolkata.

Quite a number of cultural functions are organized in different auditoriums at this time. Even famous singers from Mumbai visit the city this time.

Besides, the social clubs and resorts near Kolkata organize theme parties accompanied by attractive food and beverage.

But what really will warm your heart is having a party at home. Spending time with your friends and relatives not only lifts your spirits but rekindles the connections often lost in the humdrum of everyday life.

Even parties in gated communities can be splendid occasions to share the jubilation.

This is the time of the year when we leave the old and look forward to the future with hope.

We wish you the best for an amazing 2023.

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